Giveaways Inspirations and Influences

Guest Author and Giveaway: Leanna Renee Hieber on Inspiration and Influences

“Inspiration and Influences” is a new series of articles in which we invite authors to write guest posts talking about their…well, Inspirations and Influences. The cool thing is that the writers are given free reign so they can go wild and write about anything they want. It can be about their new book, series or about their career as a whole.

Today our guest is debut author Leanna Renee Hieber. Her book, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, is being released tomorrow 08/25 and is the first in her Strangely Beautiful series of ghostly, Gothic Fantasy novels. Reviewed today here .

Since the book has a diversity that I happen to love (Gothic!Victorian!Romance!) , I just had to invite the writer to talk about her inspiration behind the tale.

And here she is:

Thanks Book Smugglers for allowing me to come visit, I dearly love your blog, I thank you for the engaging, clever resource it provides authors and readers.

When talking about my Inspirations and Influences, it usually leads into a discussion about cross-genre work.

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, first in the Strangely Beautiful series, has “Historical Fantasy” on its spine. It has also been described by reviewers and/or marketed with the words Gothic, Paranormal Romance, Gaslight, Suspense with light Horror elements, with a lyrical voice and a late-teen YA cross-over appeal. I love every single one of those descriptors, though I couldn’t choose just one to describe the book. If I was pressed to, I’d choose Gothic. (As in the genre, not necessarily the sub-culture. Though being a life-long devotee of corsets, chokers, Goth bands and Goth clubs is certainly its own inspiration in my life and my work).

And so these myriad descriptors come from my myriad influences. Early in life I fell in love with these things that would serve to define my writing style and lifestyle:

– British Accents
– Greek Mythology (and Mythologies in general)
– Ghost Stories
– Writing (since I could hold a pen and finish a sentence, it’s my favourite thing to do with my time)
– Helpless romanticism
– Brooding, brilliant, magical men who seemed wicked but weren’t- (Just like Anne of Green Gables says, she wants someone who isn’t wicked but has the possibility of being wicked. I’m so Anne.)
– Fantasy novels
– Gothic novels/literature
– Jane Austen
– Theatre
– The Victorian Era – (I have no idea why as a child I was flouncing around in doubled skirts and makeshift corsets, speaking in a British Accent in rural Ohio. I credit a past life because I don’t know how else to explain my long time love affair with the era or why London felt uncannily home when I went there.)
– Birds
– Making things up that were utterly impossible and/or utterly non-traditional.
– Ghostbusters
– Fine Art
– The BBC

In college I majored in theatre, got a focus study in the Victorian Era with a particular eye for Gothic literature, and began adapting Victorian literature for the stage. I graduated, interned with the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company working silly-long hours, and my list of defining obsessions grew as I fell head over heels in love with all things J.K. Rowling and Neil Gaiman and somewhere, after having watched Sense and Sensibility for the thousandth time, in the thick of night in a bout of delirious exhaustion 9 years ago… In walks ghostly eighteen-going-on-nineteen Miss Percy Parker- into a 19th century school office, speaking in a British accent, wearing Victorian clothes and saying something about Greek Mythology and Shakespeare. She so sweetly asked if I would deprive myself of sleep for the next many years and tell her tale. She was just too dear, and too persistent, to turn down. Somewhere I have an audio tape that I recorded just to get the thoughts down (Percy had terrible timing, I had a long drive ahead of me the next day). I started off by saying: “My life has just changed.” I knew the day she appeared to me that I’d never be the same, blessedly haunted by her. This was my first yearning to become a career novelist, and I knew dear, sweet, weird Miss Percy Parker would be the one to introduce me to the world. And vice versa. I continued in professional theatre, published plays, essays and short fiction, some won awards and things, but my heart kept coming back to Percy Parker.

I couldn’t have known it would take about 9 years to get here, or that the cross-genre nature of the book would be a hindrance to selling it along the way, or what the market would look like now (about right for my book at the moment- Victorian seems to be “in”) as opposed to then, all I knew was I wanted to write the book I wanted to read. New York Times Bestselling author Alethea Kontis wrote in her glowing review on Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show that my book is “…Bulfinch’s Mythology and Harry Potter and Wuthering Heights mashed in a blender.” Now that was an awesome compliment. She understood my list of inspirations. Blended and beloved; swirled into the ‘book of my heart’.

Now for those pre-published writers to whom I might enthusiastically declare that yes, “write the book of your heart, no matter what,” let me just say also: be careful, you’re also much more emotionally invested, so if someone thinks your baby is ugly it hurts more. Steel yourself, be flexible and have faith. My entire adult life is wrapped up in this book. That feels like a lot of pressure here, just a couple of days before release day. However, my greatest dream is coming true.

This book is honestly my love-letter to the world, all my favourite things in one series. I hope that a story of love conquering all odds, of a meek outcast finding strength, confidence and an unlikely family, a story of indomitable friendship amidst a backdrop of magic and hell, will make the world just a tiny bit better for the huge love, wild dreams and all those inspirations wrapped up in it.

Thank you, peace, and blessings.

Leanna Renee Hieber


Thank you Leanna!

Now for the giveaway: we have one copy of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker to giveaway. Leave a comment here by Saturday 29th 11:59pm (Pacific) to enter. Contest is open for residents of US and Canada only. Winner will be announced in our Sunday stash. Good luck!

Check out other reviews here: Lurv a La Mode’s; Babbling About Books and More’s, The Discriminating Fangirl)

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  • Lexie C.
    August 24, 2009 at 4:36 am

    The book looks so great (and props for the BBC!)


  • Ashley
    August 24, 2009 at 5:22 am

    Would love to enter the giveaway, this sounds like my kind of book! Thanks!


  • Rylie
    August 24, 2009 at 5:31 am

    Enter me, please!

  • Christina G
    August 24, 2009 at 5:33 am

    Please enter me into the contest.

    Thank you

  • Jamie
    August 24, 2009 at 6:07 am

    Please include me. Thanks!

  • Elie N
    August 24, 2009 at 6:11 am

    I have read several interviews with this author and I’m so excited to read this book! Please enter me!

  • Sandra
    August 24, 2009 at 6:23 am

    The book looks wonderful. Thank you for the guest post! It is always great to see where writers get their ideas.

  • danielle
    August 24, 2009 at 7:02 am

    Looks interesting. Sign me up!

  • JenP
    August 24, 2009 at 7:04 am

    It looks great! I’d love a copy!

  • Bevin
    August 24, 2009 at 7:23 am

    I’d like to enter, but if I don’t win I’ll certainly be buying this book!

  • Michelle M
    August 24, 2009 at 7:53 am

    Wonderful interview – I love hearing about what sparks author’s interests.

    Please enter me for the contest!

  • Karen
    August 24, 2009 at 8:42 am

    The book sounds great. I have my fingers crossed on winning.

  • Connie
    August 24, 2009 at 8:49 am

    Read your review of this and it sounds interesting. Definitely going on my long TBR list.

  • Jacqueline L.
    August 24, 2009 at 8:53 am

    Count me in, please and thank you!

    Also, yay for cross-genre stories! And Ghostbusters! 😀

  • Clara
    August 24, 2009 at 9:04 am

    Too bad I can’t enter the contest, but I need to write here just to say that I really sympathized with all your post and I basically have the same taste!I can’t wait to read your book! Best luck Leanna!

  • Teresa W.
    August 24, 2009 at 9:12 am

    I’ve been hearing alot about this one, sounds good!

  • I Heart Book Gossip
    August 24, 2009 at 9:16 am

    Please count me in.

    cindyc725 at gmail dot com

  • C.L. Wilson
    August 24, 2009 at 9:19 am

    Please don’t enter me in the drawing (I’ve already read Leanna’s enchanting debut)…I just wanted to pop in and say how much I adored reading this book. I kept turning pages, waiting to see what happened next. I was under deadline, up to my ears in “STUFF YOU MUST DO”, but Leanna still managed to completely suck me into her wonderful, mysterious, strangely beautiful world and I made an all-afternoon date with the couch in my office and her manuscript.

  • Jen D.
    August 24, 2009 at 9:26 am

    I’ve heard a lot about this author and book. Thanks for the giveaway.

    Count me in!


  • Leanna Renee Hieber
    August 24, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Thank you everyone for stopping by, I very much appreciate the interest.

    C.L. – *swoons* I swear to God your support of this book means more to me than I can possibly express. I admire you so much and love your books so very much – I still can’t get over the thrill of your cover quote and am so exceedingly, exceedingly grateful for your ongoing support. I hope I can pay it forward as you have so paid it forward to me.


    Thank you, Booksmugglers, for the wonderful opportunity to be here, thank you for your in-depth, considered and well-written review, I look forward to continuing to follow you and enjoy you.

  • MeganS.
    August 24, 2009 at 9:47 am

    “This book is honestly my love-letter to the world, all my favourite things in one series.”

    Love that! (And much love for Ghostbusters!)

    Reading this, and reading the review, I realized I haven’t read much, if any, contemporary-writtten gothic novels. I’ve read the classics, sure, but not much that’s being written right now. Miss Percy Parker sounds like a good place to start.

  • MaryK
    August 24, 2009 at 9:57 am

    a story of love conquering all odds, of a meek outcast finding strength, confidence and an unlikely family

    Love that description! That’s exactly what I look for in a book. I’ve been attracted by the lovely cover and title of this book since I first heard about it. From the review, it sounds like the inside matches.

  • Sue
    August 24, 2009 at 10:00 am

    Looks great. Thanks for the giveaway.

  • Lustyreader
    August 24, 2009 at 10:27 am

    Pretty pretty please with a cherry on top! I wanted this after KB’s review, but Leanna’s passionate interview made me want it even more!

  • Jessiekay
    August 24, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    I’ve never read any gothic fantasy books. I think I would really enjoy this.

  • mindy
    August 24, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    I love her list of what influences her style! Sounds like my kind of book, if it hits all those!

  • Wanda
    August 24, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    This book looks great!!!
    Please enter my name in your draw.
    wandanamgreb (at) gmail (dot) com

  • Terri W.
    August 24, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    Great post and I would love to read this book!

    Please enter me in the contest!


  • veedee
    August 24, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Just love discovering new authors like Leanna! The title and book cover are winnahs!

  • Leanna Renee Hieber
    August 24, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Thank you so much for your interest, it looks like I’m discovering some kindred spirits here! Neat! Pleasure to meet all of you!

    My Haunted London Blog Tour continues this week, I hope you’ll drop by! I’ve a contest too! Schedule and contest details at

  • Jennifer
    August 24, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Cover looks beautiful; all those years was definitely worth it. Congrats! 🙂
    From the list of influences, it sounds just like the type of book I would read. I love everything on that list with the exception of Ghostbusters. Ghosts in real life scare me to death, haha.
    I would love a chance to win this book and enjoy it, thank you!


  • Angie Ariza
    August 24, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    8) Love a new book and love your reviews!!!

  • Amy Kathryn
    August 24, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    This is one of those books that caught me by the cover…it sounds like it will be great.

  • Pam S
    August 24, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    Great post and I enjoyed your review as well! This book sounds great please count me in.

    Pam S

  • elaing8
    August 24, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    Sounds like an interesting book.
    plese enter me in the giveaway

  • Jennygirl
    August 24, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    I can even begin to imagine how emotionally invested in a book a writer can be.

    Please enter me for this book.
    Great interview!

  • Pam P
    August 24, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    I like gothics and cross-genre stories, so I do want to give this one a read, Leanna. Thanks for the interview.

  • stezton
    August 24, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    count me in

  • Kimberly B.
    August 24, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    You had me at “Greek Mythology.” Or maybe “Gothic,” because I love nothing than reading about a heroine wandering the halls of a spooky old mansion wearing a nightgown and carrying a candlestick. Or maybe it was “Fine Art.” Oh, this book just sounds so good!

  • Biki
    August 24, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    Please count me in! 😀

  • Chris
    August 24, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    All the buzz I’ve been hearing for this book has me very excited about it!

  • Jenny N
    August 24, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    Looking through Leanne’s list of influences I can see that there are a few that I like as well. I would love to be able to read her book.


  • iokijo
    August 24, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Congrats on your new release, and thank you for sharing.
    It sounds like a wonderful mix of a story.

  • Lori T
    August 24, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    I have heard really great things about this and I would love to be entered.

  • Donna S
    August 24, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    What a great post. I love the sound of this book and cant wait to get the chance to read it. Thanks for sharing.

  • Tiah
    August 24, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    I am really looking forward to reading this. That picture of Leanna is beautiful.

  • Dottie
    August 24, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    I read so many good thing about this book recently, I can’t wait to try it!

    Please enter me!

    Dottie 🙂

  • Stumbling Over Chaos :: Proof that Chaos isn’t dead (plus contests and links to free books!)
    August 25, 2009 at 1:04 am

    […] a chance to win The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, leave a comment at Book Smugglers by 11:59 pm PDT, August […]

  • bridget3420
    August 25, 2009 at 2:02 am

    I’d like to enter.

  • catie james
    August 25, 2009 at 2:16 am

    Oh yes! I’m dying to read this one.

  • bookalicious
    August 25, 2009 at 8:42 am

    Oooh, I’d love to read this book, please enter me! 🙂

  • Guinifer
    August 25, 2009 at 10:12 am

    What a great book cover!

  • Pam R.
    August 25, 2009 at 10:21 am

    I love the title of this one and have been hearing such great things. I’d love to read your love letter to the world! Count me in please!

  • morganne w
    August 25, 2009 at 10:24 am

    looks good. count me in on the comtest. ❗ 😛

  • Raelena
    August 25, 2009 at 10:43 am

    sounds great! count me in please
    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

  • bartholomew Henry
    August 25, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Leanna seems to have a great heart. Very rich inner world, I’d love to share this with me mum, we both feel we were reincarnated from another Victorian world somewhere in time. Lovely.

  • Emily
    August 25, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    I love Anne Shirley as well!!

    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

  • Sharon K
    August 25, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    Hi Leanna,
    Congrats on the release of your baby, the book sounds super! Can’t wait to read it.
    Sharon K

    August 25, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    memememememememememe p l e a s e!!! enter me. i want an autographed copy of her book. 🙄

  • RachaelfromNJ
    August 25, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Sounds great! Please enter me!

  • Veronica F.
    August 25, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    ooh, pls enter me; this book sounds exactly what Im always looking for:magical.
    I love Harry Potter, Wuthering Heights, and especially Bulfinch’s Mythology. Not to mention all things beautifully Victorian, gothic & romantic 😀

    Veronica F.

  • SMD
    August 25, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    Oooh, I’ve heard a lot about this book lately and would really love to read it. It keeps popping everywhere, which is a good thing, right?

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Valerie
    August 25, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Want! Please enter me.

  • Rose Lerner
    August 25, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    This book looks awesome! Please put my name in the hat. 🙂

  • I told you there would be more… | Literary Escapism
    August 25, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    […] Leanna Renee Heiber, author of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, at the Book Smugglers […]

  • Susan Laura
    August 26, 2009 at 8:28 am

    Thanks for the giveaway. Keeping my fingers crossed . . . . .

  • melanie
    August 26, 2009 at 8:30 am

    Please enter me!
    (As soon as I saw Mrs. Gaskell referenced in one of the reviews, I was hooked!)

  • Bella
    August 26, 2009 at 8:33 am

    This book has been getting so much great buzz, I am dying to try it!

    Please enter me.


  • Stephanie M
    August 26, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    Great contest and the book sounds really good!

  • Sharry
    August 27, 2009 at 12:54 am

    I’ve been hearing so much about this book! Please enter me in the contest too!


  • Fionen
    August 27, 2009 at 7:14 am

    These are a few of my favorite things. 😀 The book truly sounds wonderful.

  • Beth
    August 29, 2009 at 9:36 am

    This looks great! Please enter me!

  • Belinda m
    August 29, 2009 at 11:16 am

    Please include me in your giveaway

    Canadian Contests, Freebies, Coupons, Deals, Games and Chat – join us at


  • Paradox
    August 29, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    This book sounds awesome!

    paradoxrevealed (at) aim (dot) com

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